PSL on a mission to cap players’ salaries

2010-12-05 15:43

The Premier Soccer League is planning dramatic changes that will reshape the landscape of South ­African football.

It also became clear yesterday that relations between the league and Safa had not thawed as the PSL delegates boycotted the mother body’s elections, saying they were exercising their right not to vote.

Safa West Rand also did not participate in the elections to vote an additional 14 members onto the executive committee.

As elections were the last item on the agenda, the PSL delegates departed before polls could be conducted.

The mooted changes included capping professional soccer players’ salaries as well as registering the league as a private company with all the 32 Absa Premiership and National First Division (NFD) clubs as shareholders.

The two subjects were part of the discussion at Friday’s special annual general meeting when the board of governors – the league’s highest decision-making body, consisting of all 16 PSL and NFD club chairpersons – gathered in ­Johannesburg.

While the league cited the recent recession as the reason for the suggestion to cap salaries, some saw it as a way to prevent rich clubs such as Mamelodi Sundowns from creating a situation where they attracted all the top players because of their lucrative salary structure.

At one stage, the Tshwane side was reportedly paying R200 000 to a single player per month.

The corporatisation of the PSL, where the executive committee would be replaced by a board of directors, could be viewed as another way the league was protecting itself from Safa’s “agenda” to take over the running of its ­affairs.

Relations have not been rosy between the two organisations since the Safa elections in September last year that peeved ­the league after its chairperson and presidential candidate Irvin Khoza walked out of the meeting.

It also came as no surprise that the PSL snubbed Safa’s award ­ceremony on Friday night.

In the new structure, clubs would be shareholders guided by a memorandum of incorporation – a ­model similar to their English counterparts.

A club that was relegated to the Vodacom league would hand over its shares to the promoted side.

PSL chief executive Kjetil Siem said although the league had ­always operated like a private company, they had decided to do it ­officially to comply with the latest amendments to the Company’s Act.

“Under the Company’s Act, which will come into effect in April next year, we will be obliged to register as a private company but we have decided to convert ­into one now.”

The league has been operating as a universitas company – an ­association of clubs.

Members agreed to seek legal advice on this thorny issue, and Siem said there was a lot of work to be done before the matter could be finalised.

“We want to first see if it is possible theoretically to have minimum and maximum salary caps.

This is a healthy situation when all stakeholders can communicate based on common interest of running their affairs properly in tough financial times,” said Siem.

He admitted that the system could be open to abuse as ­unscrupulous people could use ­nefarious means to pay high ­salaries to lure players.

“As much as it is a way to go, it might also open up other means of paying and that will not be good for football.”

Previously, the South African Football Players’ Union had proposed a minimum wage of R15 000 per month for Absa ­Premiership players and R8 500 for National First Division.

But the matter never materialised as the league was not registered as an employer’s association and to have a fully-fledged ­bargaining chamber, the league needed to comply fully.

The PSL and the union have scheduled a meeting for Wednesday to discuss the matter and to get feedback from the board of governors meeting regarding the salary caps.

Siem added that the league would introduce a strict club licensing manual.

He explained that before issuing clubs with licences, clubs must first comply with certain requirements.

The compliance manual was first introduced in the 2007/8 season and some clubs had already ­felt the wrath of the league for failing to adhere to the regulations.

With the broadcast rights up for renewal next year, the PSL decided to issue a tender for consultants to negotiate on its behalf.

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